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Heart Disease

What is heart disease?

A functional heart is key to maintaining overall good health. When issues arise that affect heart functions, the impacts can alter a person’s quality of life and lead to an early death. Many people diagnosed with heart disease require medication to combat the symptoms of their illness.

Heart disease is a blanket term used to cover different heart conditions. Coronary artery disease, which affects blood flow to the heart, is the most common form of heart disease in the U.S. People can experience a heart attack if they don’t get enough blood flow to the heart.

What are the symptoms of heart disease?

An individual may not realize they are at risk for heart disease until they experience symptoms like:

  • Heart arrhythmia — A heart arrhythmia is an irregular heartbeat caused when the signals that coordinate heartbeats stop functioning correctly.
  • Heart attack — Also called a myocardial infarction, a heart attack occurs when the heart stops receiving enough blood. Symptoms include chest pain, feelings of weakness, pain in the shoulders or arms, and shortness of breath.
  • Heart failure — Congestive heart failure occurs when the heart can’t provide levels of blood sufficient to support body systems.

What causes heart disease?

People dealing with health conditions like high blood pressure or high cholesterol may be more at risk for developing heart issues. Atherosclerosis, a build-up of cholesterol in the blood vessels, can restrict blood flow to the heart. Without treatment, the plaque could break off and cause you to have a heart attack or stroke.

Can any complications arise if left untreated?

If left untreated, heart disease can cause individuals to experience shortness of breath during even mild physical activity. The biggest risk is the possibility of suffering from heart failure.

How do you treat heart conditions?

Doctors typically recommend making lifestyle changes like getting more exercise or consuming a healthier diet to help protect heart health. If you’ve been diagnosed with heart disease, your doctor may prescribe medications like beta-blockers, anticoagulants, and diuretics to address the symptoms.

Common medications may include

Agents for Opioid Withdrawal, Central Alpha-2 Adrenergic Agonist-Type
Anticoagulants - Coumarin
Jantoven warfarin
Beta Blockers Cardiac Selective, All
acebutolol atenolol betaxolol bisoprolol Bystolic Kapspargo


Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) - CDC

Heart disease - Mayo Clinic

Heart Disease - CDC

Risk factors for heart disease: Frequently asked questions - University of Iowa Health Care